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Incomplete versus complete spinal cord injuries

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2021 | Injury

A person who suffers a spinal cord injury will often wonder what type of recovery they will have. The answer to this isn’t always easy, but it’s often determined through testing of the impacted area of the spine and reviewing the impacts the injury has on the person.

As you’re listening to the medical team telling you about your injury, you’ll likely hear some terms that you’re unfamiliar with. For example, you may hear the terms “incomplete” and “complete” as the doctors and other caregivers are discussing your case.

How does the type of injury affect your chances of full recovery?

A complete spinal cord injury is one that doesn’t leave any motor function or sensory abilities below the level of the injury. These typically aren’t going to result in a full recovery because of the global damage to the nerve pathways. Paralysis of the affected limbs is possible.

An incomplete injury is one where there is still some sensory or motor function below the location of the injury. People with incomplete spinal cord injuries often have a much better recovery because some of the nerve pathways are still connected. This doesn’t mean that they’ll regain full use of the impacted side of the body, however.

It’s imperative that treatment for a spinal cord injury is started quickly after the injury occurs. This can involve taking steps to protect the nerves and the spine. Physical therapy is another important component of the treatment plan.

Anyone who suffers this type of catastrophic injury will quickly realize that the care is costly. For individuals who suffer the injury due to another person’s negligence, seeking compensation is possible. A legal claim can help recover the financial damages associated with the injury like medical bills and other costs associated with care as well as lost wages.